Els takes the title in Munich

South Africa completes wire-to-wire victory as he beats Thomas Bjorn by one shot at BMW International

Ernie Els  after winning the BMW International

Ernie Els after winning the BMW International

Sun, Jun 23, 2013, 18:33

Ernie Els claimed a wire-to-wire victory in the BMW International Open in Munich by one shot from Thomas Bjorn as he continued his preparations to defend his British Open title next month.

The South African, who won last year’s Open at Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club — 10 years after his only other victory in the major at Muirfield — carded his third consecutive round of 69 to finish 18-under-par.

The veteran birdied the fifth, sixth and eighth holes of his final round before a bogey on the 11th pegged him back. Another birdie on the 18th, however, was enough to clinch his 28th European Tour victory and his first at this event.

“It’s been a long while,” Els said after being presented with the winner’s trophy.

“It’s been wonderful. I’ve had a great weekend in Germany and tried a long time to win this golf tournament. I made it pretty tough for myself again.

“Thomas (Bjorn), my playing partner, was playing great and I was watching the kid (Alexander Levy) but he looked like he stumbled coming in.

“I stayed with the basics. It’s great to get my name on this wonderful trophy.”

Els admitted the win, which he secured after leading all the way through the event from his first-round score of 63, is a great boost ahead of the British Open, which begins in Muirfield on July 18th.

“Obviously it gives me a lot,” Els said.

“Wire to wire you’ve got the pressure and every night you’ve got to sleep on it.

“This is quite a week for me. There were a lot of strong players in the field. I’m really looking forward to Muirfield.”

Bjorn and Els had both been on 17 under par with six holes remaining with France’s Levy a shot further back.

Bjorn had moved into the overall lead following three consecutive birdies on the third, fourth and fifth holes.

His chances were derailed, however, following a bogey on the 11th and a double-bogey at the 14th, which three more birdies on the back nine were unable to salvage.

’s Levy finished in third place on 16 under par, two strokes behind Els, who has now climbed back into the top 15 of the official rankings from 20th place following this victory.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger, Martin Kaymer and Alex Noren finished three shots behind Els in a three-way tie for fourth.

Shane Lowry, who stumbled with a 74 on Saturday, found some form ahead of the Irish Open with a final round of 65 to finish in a tie for 22nd on 11 under. Peter Lawrie and David Higgins were two shots further back.

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